Micah 6


‘Listen to what the LORD says: “Stand up, plead my case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say. “Hear, you mountains, the LORD’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the LORD has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel. “My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me. I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam. My people, remember what Balak king of Moab plotted and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD.” Micah 6:1-5

The LORD’s Case Against Israel

Micah’s thoughts return again to the present conditions in Judah. He gives us a picture of a court case going on as we see in Hosea. The mountains are the jury, these are the leaders of the nations and they are summoned to hear the complaint that God has against His people.

The mountains witness the blessing of God and the ingratitude of the people. God is the Counsel for the Prosecution.

God asks, ‘what have I ever done to you to cause you to become idolatrous? He recalls His gracious dealings with Israel from the time of the Exodus. God says He’s done everything for them, even during the exodus, their sandals didn’t wear out, Deuteronomy 29:5.

God asks, what have I done to you? I gave you good. Why are you turning against me? God didn’t give them any commandments that were a burden to them, Jeremiah 2:5-8 / 1 John 5:3.

He had counselled them for good, while Balaam counselled them for evil and destruction, Numbers 22-24. He took care of them on their journey from Shittim to Gilgal, Numbers 22-27 / Joshua 1-4 / Hosea 9:15 / Amos 4:4.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The mention of Shittim and Gilgal in this passage was not for stressing the wonderful blessings of God upon his people, but for the purpose of showing what an evil response Israel had made to those blessings.’

‘With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ Micah 6:6-8

Micah pictures the people acknowledging their guilt. How shall we come before the Lord to put this right? With burnt offerings, the best of the herd?

If God doesn’t want quality, does he want quantity? How about 1,000 rams? Or shall I offer my firstborn, the fruit of my body? If God doesn’t want quality or quantity, can we give our most precious thing, our firstborn?

They had gotten into child sacrifice, 2 Kings 16:3 / 2 Kings 17:17, and they did all of this to win God’s pleasure. Micah says that none of these is the answer. What God requires comes from the heart, Deuteronomy 10:12-13 / Deuteronomy 30:11-14.

Scoggin, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Sacrifices of whatever kind have no meaning when unaccompanied by ethical behaviour. Sacrifice in itself is not wrong but unaccompanied by ethical living, it is simply irrelevant.’

The Lord requires the following.

1. They act justly, Proverbs 21:3 / Amos 5:23-24 / Zechariah 8:16, that they live according to God’s laws.

2. That they be merciful, James 2:13.

3. That they be humble and submissive, that they walk humbly with their God, Romans 3:31 / Matthew 23:23 / Luke 11:42 / James 1:27.

God isn’t interested in their offerings of precious things. He wants a change of lifestyle and behaviour from the people.

Israel’s Guilt And Punishment

‘Listen! The LORD is calling to the city—and to fear your name is wisdom—“Heed the rod and the One who appointed it. Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house, and the short ephah, which is accursed? Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights? Your rich people are violent; your inhabitants are liars and their tongues speak deceitfully.’ Micah 6:9-12

Micah now emphasises that the voice of the Lord is about to be heard.

McKeating, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The prosecution is resumed with an appeal this time, not to the mountains and hills, but to the populace. The rod is the chastisement, or judgment, about to be made known to the people. The city here is probably Jerusalem.’

Micah says that God will not forget their ill-gotten ways. Shall I acquit a man with dishonest scales and a bag of false weights? How they made their profit, they have shortchanged the people, an ephah was the incorrect amount, Deuteronomy 25:13 / Proverbs 11:1 / Proverbs 16:11 / Amos 8:5.

The rich are characterised by lies, violence and deceit. The rich had gained their wealth through their exploitation of the poor. The city of Jerusalem was a spiritually sick society, Romans 1:18-32.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The corollaries of this verse are easily discerned.’

1. God can never be pleased by the exploitation inherent in crooked weights and measures.

2. Mountains of sacrifices or the constant observance of religious routines are impossible of pleasing God if found in the conduct of people whose lives are immoral, unethical, unselfish, or deceitful.

‘Therefore, I have begun to destroy you, to ruin you because of your sins. You will eat but not be satisfied; your stomach will still be empty. You will store up but save nothing, because what you save I will give to the sword. You will plant but not harvest; you will press olives but not use the oil, you will crush grapes but not drink the wine. You have observed the statutes of Omri and all the practices of Ahab’s house; you have followed their traditions. Therefore I will give you over to ruin and your people to derision; you will bear the scorn of the nations.” Micah 6:13-16

God begins to punish them for their sin, Matthew 23:38. They shall eat but not be satisfied, they will be unable to provide for themselves. They will sow seeds but not reap a harvest, they will tread olives but there will be no oi1. They will tread grapes but there will be no wine.

Deane, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The following passages strictly forbade the very conduct reproved here, Leviticus 26:25, etc., and Deuteronomy 28:29, etc.’

The reason for this is because the people have given up worshiping God and serving the gods introduced by Omri and Ahab, 2 Kings 8:26. Omri and Ahab were the two worst Kings, 1 Kings 16-22, and so the people were following their king’s laws, not God.

God had established Israel as a nation that would bring glory to His name, Deuteronomy 28:1-14. However, they rejected His leadership through His Word and ended up creating an unjust society that was scorned by the surrounding nations.

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